Crazy For Christ
The Senior Pastor of my church gave a sermon on Psalm 24:1-10 titled ‘What If We Begin To See That Everything We Have is God’s?’ this past Sunday.
I would like to respond to it. First, I would like to express my appreciation for my senior pastor’s commitment, care, and compassion for our church and for believers everywhere. He is helped me in my walk with Christ. His sermons, while I don’t always agree with them they always challenge me to a deeper and more mature faith. I would not be an evangelical (if I am) without him.
With that said, here are my thoughts on his sermon.
He used Psalm 24 to illustrate three steps to faith and answer the question his sermon’s title asked. He opened the sermon by mentioning all the many good things our church is involved in have done and hope to do in the future. He wondered, “Why do we spend the time and money, the energy and work that being an active church needs? Are we crazy?” He answered his question in the next breath. “Yes, we are. We’re crazy for Christ. We want to follow the Lord. We want to follow him. We want to share God’s good news with others.” As individuals and as a church as a whole we want to extend the love and grace that have been lavished on us, because we know that God loves us and want us to show God’s love and grace to others. There are many things we can do this, we don’t always have to use words. We can use our talents, skills, hobbies, and interests to show the world the love and grace of God, to help people see the good news that Jesus came to proclaim.
The First step of faith is to acknowledge God as creator and author of life. The bible begins with God and the reminder of our holy scripture tells how we responded or didn’t to God and of the many roads and detours we have taken in following God and how God seeks and saves man from himself. The overall story of the bible is the story of how man messes things up and God cleans us and creation up, how Jesus is reconciling the whole thing to God. To acknowledge God as creator and author of life is to say that we are not in charge and God is that nothing we could ever do would ever make us right with God. Jesus has done it for us. All we must do is respond to God with a humble yes.
Many out there will tell you there is no God and that all believers are children and fools. They say that faith is the great cop-out. I say that atheism is the real cop out, because when someone says they don’t believe in God or that faith is false they are only fooling themselves they are saying that they know more than anyone else does. I’ve heard that to believe in Jesus and the gospel is to handicap myself. That I am only fooling myself. Yet, I think atheists are the real fools. They say life is an accident; there is nothing more to life than what we can see and touch. Have they never loved or felt the feeling of helping others and been graced by the compassion of others. Atheists are angry—are the real fools the ones being called a fool or the one calling believers a fool and shouting against the very thing they say is not real.
Science-fiction author Philip K Dick said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” You could replace reality with God, believing in God is not about an intellectual proposition, but trusting the very source that created and sustains you. I am with Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.” Believing in God is not about proving God’s existence is some provable way that everyone will accept, it’s about trusting there is more to creation. Richard Rohr says, “Faith does not need to push the river because faith is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing. We are in it.”
The second step in faith is confessing our need for a savior. My senior pastor said, “It is only with the redemptive forgiveness of Jesus Christ that anyone can stand with clean hands and a pure heart.” We have all sinned and cannot repay the debt we owe, there is only one way to be right with God and live an abundant life and that is through saying yes to Jesus and accepting the free gift of grace he offers. Nothing we ever do will be enough. It is only through Jesus that we are reconciled to God. The answer for all our questions is Jesus, the Lord and Savior of all. Jesus doesn’t ask that we clean ourselves up, only that we accept what He has already done for us.
The third step of faith is open the gates for the King. I think this meanings opening our entire being to God. John 10: I am the gate for the sheep… whoever enters through me will be saved. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. To open our lives to God we find the purpose and reason for our being alive and are made more able to live fully in the here-and-now. Faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior is not so much about a ticket to heaven as it is the ability to live in the messiness of the here-and-now. In The Stand, Stephen King writes, “God doesn’t provide taxis, but gives us his strength.” God doesn’t want us happy, rich, and fat, but to be transform into the kingdom people so that we can live in the Kingdom here-and-now and later.
So in conclusion, when we begin to see that everything we have is God’s and confess our need for a savior and we open our lives to God and stand in His holy place to live the fullest, abundant lives in Christ not for anything we might gain, but so that others—many others—may come to know, love, and serve God.
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